INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Changes in work practices.
2. The dispute concerns a plan by the Company to implement changes in the current "Snow and Ice Plan" for the clearing of snow and ice from runways, taxiways, roads and paths in order to maintain the Airport in an operational state and to ensure the safety of aircraft, passengers and members of the public.
The Union claims that 28 of its members employed as Technical Operatives, but generally know as "Builders Labours", are directly affected by the proposed changes. These workers perform a key function in maintaining the safe operation of the Airport during the winter period.
The Company is seeking the following operational changes to the collective agreement governing "Snow and Ice Operations" as follows:-
(a) operatives to be on-call by telephone as opposed to the
current situations where they are called to in person;
(b) operatives to use their own transport in responding to the
call-out as opposed to the present system where they are
collected by Company transport;
(c) the size of the crews to be increased from 5 to 7;
(d) the involvement of other workers such as "Trolley
Operatives" to be involved in the restructuring plan.
The Technical Operatives are grouped in crews and are on-call at home for periods of one week between the months of November and March. For this the operatives receive an annual payment of approximately £500 with in-built overtime earnings of between 60-70 hours with potential overtime earnings if they are called out.
The Union is in broad agreement with the proposed changes. However, it argues that the proposed changes will mean additional liability for the operatives concerned in terms of call-out at a considerable cost saving to the Company. The Union is seeking adequate compensation for the proposed changes as follows:-
(a) call-out payment to be increased from £500 to £750;
(b) the payment of telephone rental for each operative on call for the period when the plan is in operation;
(c) an additional two increments for each operative in line with the deal done between the Company and the Airport Fire Service;
(d) the Company to indemnify the operatives for the use of their own cars for the period while on call.
The Company rejected the Union's proposals on the grounds of cost and on the basis of setting a precedent which would have serious consequences for other areas of the operation. It was however, prepared to increase the allowance of £500 to £750 to cover the use of own transport.
The Union rejected the Company's proposal as inadequate.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 11th of June, 1997 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 9th of September, 1997.
3. 1. The Company is seeking major changes to the current agreement. The workers should be suitably compensated for these changes.
2. The workers concerned perform a key function in maintaining the safe operation of the Airport during the winter months. The Airport remains open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
3. The proposed changes will generate substantial savings for the Company and as a result provide it with a vastly improved service. However, there will be an increase in costs for the workers concerned.
4. In 1994 there were 39 Technical Operatives (Builders' Labourers). The number of operatives now employed is 28 even though the Airport is expanding.
5. The Union is seeking compensation for the workers as follows:-
(a) payment of two additional increments,
(b) a substantial increase in the winter allowance,
(c) reimbursement of telephone rental,
(d) reimbursement of costs for travelling in response to call-out and
(e) acceptance by the Company of the car insurance risk involved.
4. 1. The current system of call-out is cumbersome. The response time of 2.5 hours is no longer acceptable for an International Airport.
2. The Technical Operatives are guaranteed an annual lump sum of £500 and guaranteed overtime earnings of between 60 and 73 hours and potential additional overtime if called out.
3. In the past six years there have been four call-outs on average per year in respect of de-icing.
4. The Company must ensure that the Airport is operational 24 hours a day. In addition to the airfield, the Company has to ensure that roads, paths, and car parks are clear of ice.
5. The Company operates in a very competitive market. If it fails to meet international standards it will lose business to its competitors.
The Court having considered the views of the parties as expressed in their oral and written submissions recommends that the Company proposals be implemented and that the lump sum payment of £500 be increased by a further £400.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th September, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.